Child Laborers are People, Too

February 10, 2010

Via Steven Landsburg, an article about the children who work in third-world countries. I’m happy to acknowledge that “my” side has already won the debate on child labor among “serious” people, so hopefully I won’t face the charge that I’m asserting something too obvious to mention, here.

So I’ll graciously admit victory and move on. Still, what I like about the article is that it focuses on the plans and ambitions of these third-world child laborers, just as if they were real people like you and me, and not helpless victims of the forces of global capitalism.

William Easterly makes a similar point in his book The White Man’s Burden. The ideas of poverty traps, complementary human capital, and oppressive governments are important to think about here, but it’s nice to take a minute every so often to see that these workers are more than just props to elicit sympathy; they’re people, too.

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